Victoria Hayward wasn’t crowned individual champion of Athletes Unlimited Softball, but the 2010 graduate of Mountain View High made a serious run at the title in the pro league’s inaugural season.
Hayward finished third among the 57 players by earning 1,860 points over the five-week season that concluded last month in Rosemont, Ill. With no set teams – four captains drafted players each week – the athletes were awarded points for individual success (stats and weekly MVP honors) and team success (winning games and innings).
“I was incredibly pleased finishing third overall,” said Hayward, who was awarded a medal for her achievement. “The competition was so close and it truly came down to the final play of the final game to secure the spot.”
Hayward notched two singles in the Sept. 28 finale – which her team won 18-3 – enabling her to fend off Erika Piancastelli (1,840 points) for the third spot.
Only pitcher Cat Osterman (2,408 points) and infielder Jessie Warren (2,020) tallied more points than Hayward, an outfielder.
A member of Canada’s national team bound for the Tokyo Olympics next summer, Hayward batted .396 over 15 games with Athletes Unlimited. She stole seven bases – tied for most in the league – and posted a .459 on-base percentage. In addition, Hayward belted two homers, a triple and two doubles, and she also had 11 RBIs.
“I’m very proud of my performance this season,” she said. “I was consistent and was able to perform against some of the best in the game, week in and week out.”
The league recently announced that its second season will begin next August, and Hayward intends to play.
“I don’t anticipate too many changes to the league structure itself – the players and the fans all loved it,” said Hayward, head of the league’s player executive committee. “We’re already seeing college programs use our models regularly as they prepare for their college seasons. I think it’s truly the future of our sport.”
Born in Toronto and raised in Mountain View, Hayward is now in Florida training for the Olympics.
For more information on the league, visit auprosports.com.